Latest News From Bumper to Bumper Radio

How do plug-in hybrids save money? After doing the math, you will know whether it fits your budget and lifestyle.

Plug-in hybrids save money on fuel by operating on both electricity and gasoline and by saving energy. Like regular hybrids, plug-in hybrids use both a gasoline engine and an electric motor but have a higher-capacity battery to store electricity. They take advantage of electricity's low cost and the electric motor's energy efficiency but retain the convenience of gasoline's widespread availability and quick refueling. Plug-in hybrids also save energy through regenerative braking, which recovers much of the energy typically lost when you apply the brakes. Regenerative braking slows the vehicle by converting its momentum into electricity, and stores the electricity in the vehicle's battery. Plug-in hybrids also save fuel by using a start-stop system that saves fuel by turning off the engine when it would otherwise be idling, and starting it automatically when the accelerator is pressed, such as at a traffic light.

The big advantage of a plug-in hybrid is that you can plug it in to re-charge the battery. It's much cheaper to run your vehicle on electricity from your outlet than on gasoline. Based on typical average rates, operating a plug-in on electricity costs less than half as much as it would on gasoline.

Plug-in hybrids have a larger battery than a regular hybrid so you can use more electricity and less gas. When the electricity runs out, it operates just like a regular hybrid. You don't have to plug it in to drive it, but re-charging it whenever you can will maximize your fuel savings.

A plug-in hybrid's motor is also more powerful than a regular hybrid's, so the plug-in hybrid can be driven in electric-only mode at higher speeds, not just during low speed driving.

If you're considering a plug-in hybrid, it's important to understand that all plug-ins are not alike. Some have batteries that hold more electricity than others, and some can go farther on electricity without using any gasoline. Since using electricity instead of gasoline is key to saving money with a plug-in hybrid, your driving habits, especially the distance you drive between re-charging the battery, can have a big effect on your fuel bill.

With all of these factors affecting electricity use, it can be difficult to estimate how much fuelling a hybrid will cost you. So, check it out and see if a plug-in hybrid could be right for you!

The average American car owner pays almost $9,000 a year in driving costs. Automotive expert Lauren Fix, The Car Coach shares important automotive maintenance and car repair tips to help you save money and keep your car running smoothly.

For more information and for a FREE car care guide, visit the Car Care Council at www.carcare.org.

There have been 17 hot car related deaths this year. What should you do if you discover a child has been locked in a hot car? Automotive expert Lauren Fix demonstrates how to prevent another hot car related death. Watch these tips on Inside Edition to prevent another tragedy!

If the heat of summer is wearing you down, it is likely taking its toll on your car battery too. Contrary to popular belief, summer highs rather than winter lows pose the greater threat to battery life, according to the non-profit Car Care Council.

Sooner or later all batteries have to be replaced. Excessive heat and overcharging are the two main reasons for shortened battery life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, thus damaging the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate, leading to slow death for a battery.

“When most motorists think of dead batteries that cause starting failure, they think of severe winter weather, but summer heat is the real culprit,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Many battery problems start long before the temperatures drop. Heat, more than cold, shortens battery life.”

With the hot summer temperatures on the rise, knowing the symptoms of a sick cooling system are critical to your summer driving plans, since cooling system failure is a leading cause of vehicle breakdowns. The most noticeable symptoms are overheating, leaks, a sweet smell of antifreeze and repeatedly needing to add coolant, according to the Car Care Council.

Coolant reservoir and level indicator- image“Neglecting your cooling system can result in serious damage and even complete engine failure, which would put a sudden end to your summer road trip,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “If the cooling system doesn’t receive regular maintenance, it’s not a question of whether it will fail, but rather when it will fail. Performing regular checkups of belts, hoses, the water pump and fluids will ensure your car remains properly cooled and healthy for many miles down the road.”

A properly operating brake system is critical to safe vehicle operation and control under a variety of conditions. Brake Safety Awareness Month in August, sponsored by the Motorist Assurance Program (MAP), is the ideal time to stop and make sure your brakes are working properly before the new school year and colder temperatures arrive.

“When it comes to vehicle safety, the brake system is at the top of the list,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Motorists can put a stop to any potential brake system problems by recognizing the signs and symptoms that their brake system may need maintenance or repair.”

Buyer beware! Over a million cars with flood damage are lurking in used car lots. NEVER buy a car that has sustained water damage. Automotive expert Lauren Fix, The Car Coach shares important tips on how to spot a car that has been through a flood.

What should you do if your car has been in a flood? ALWAYS take your flood-damaged car to a mechanic to find out the extent of the damage to features like your car's electrical systems, air bags, passive safety systems and more. Automotive expert Lauren Fix, The Car Coach tells you how to clean your car once the waters recede.

Small cars have big parking and gas benefits but are they also BIG on danger? New offset crash test ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for small cars has consumers worried, with only the 2014 MINI Countryman scoring "good." Automotive expert Lauren Fix, The Car Coach reports for The Willis Report.

DENVER, CO (April 9, 2014) – While 96 percent of drivers consider underinflated tires a serious safety issue and 89 percent think properly inflated tires and an automatic warning system could save their life, a new national survey finds 42 percent of drivers still can’t accurately identify the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) dashboard warning symbol. According ta new consumer survey1 conducted on behalf of Schrader International, the leading global manufacturer of sensing and valve solutions, drivers’ recognition of TPMS, a global safety system that warns drivers of significantly underinflated tires, could still improve despite an overall increase from a 2010 comparison survey.

Recognizing this disconnect between what drivers consider crucial their driving safety and their ability trecognize the important tire pressure warning symbol, Schrader, along with OEM car manufacturers, aftermarket service and repair leaders, and state and federal governments, are helping tfurther educate drivers on the importance of TPMS via a variety of supportive routes.

Clip of the Week

Andrew Abel of the GoodGuys Car Show joins Bumper to Bumper Radio from their remote broadcast at WestWorld.